America's heritage and tradition in the beef industry still shines through the cattle rancher's of today. Learn more about what it took to bring it to life and bring it to your table.
Have you ever bitten into a steak and said, “Wow, this steak is too high-quality, can I get some low-end beef?” We didn’t think so. It’s not just you, then entire beef industry has been chasing better beef since the 1600’s. The fact is, even with regulations and standards, there are a LOT of different ways to raise cattle in the US. So, if you’re looking the perfect texture, temperature, and taste to hit the plate in front of you, it helps to know how it gets there.
The history of US beef starts with the railway boom. Before cattle could be easily transported by rail, there was simply no way to deliver it to processing houses or even to the tables of inner-city families. But once expansive transit became part of the game, the meat packing market soon spread from the harbor towns of New England, through Cincinnati, sometimes known as “Porkopolis,” all the way out to the Wild West.
As you might expect, when it comes to quality of beef, where cattle comes from is a little less important than what type of cattle you're working with. The early 1800’s held many turning points forcattle breeds, and the type of cattle raised is still influenced by the preferences of consumers. Mid-sized, lean beef cattle are always in demand, particularly those with certain characteristics that promote the overall health and wellness of their beef.
But cattle that endure less stress, sickness, artificial hormones, and maintain a better diet -- like Perry cattle - produce superior beef, regardless of the breed or the cut of beef. Not everyone puts time and thought into what their food eats, but that’s exactly what makes the biggest difference when the meat comes off the grill. In short, the input changes the output. Big time. By improving the quality and variety of ingredients a group of cattle is fed, producers can wildly improve taste and texture. Perry Land & Cattle takes advantage of local, sustainable resources for their cattle feed, and the results speak for themselves. Instead of combing the market for cheap feed, we use high quality hay grown on our own family farm. Rather than choosing bottom of the barrel “spent grain” as filler feed, we use premium wort, a leftover ingredient from high quality grain used in breweries such as local legend Four Peaks.
Advancements like these are what have continued to improve the quality of beef throughout history... and it’s time to start expecting a cut above the rest.
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Alicia Perry, PhD, Owner/Operator and all around Hay Maven (see my blog post on the time I fell off a haystack...). I share industry insights, tips & tricks on grilling great beef, and my personal journey into the ranching world.